Man Utd release a brief statement about Cristiano Ronaldo following part two of his interview with Piers Morgan shown on Thursday.
Manchester United state via their website that they have initiated “appropriate steps” in response to what the Portugal international had to say, aiming criticism at a number of individuals.
The club have spoken out after the final excerpt of the interview aired on TalkTV, with Ronaldo saying he felt “provoked” by boss Erik ten Hag after chose not to come on last month against Tottenham and left Old Trafford prior to the full time whistle.
Ronaldo also felt Ten Hag “does not respect” him in the way he “deserves”, but he had “regret” for his behaviour against Spurs in October but feels the punishment he faced was too harsh.
“Manchester United has this morning initiated appropriate steps in response to Cristiano Ronaldo’s recent media interview,” a club statement said on Friday morning.
“We will not be making further comment until this process reaches its conclusion.”
It’s understood they have begun the legal process of effectively sacking Ronaldo by tearing up his £500,000-a-week contract without paying him a penny of the £16million he would have earned until it expired in June.
United’s lawyers are confident Ronaldo has breached the terms of his contract with his explosive allegations against the club, the Glazers, manager Erik ten Hag and his teammates.
They are initiating legal action to cancel the contract. United would have to pay Ronaldo any compensation because it would be seen as rewarding disloyalty.
ℹ️ Club statement.#MUFC
— Manchester United (@ManUtd) November 18, 2022
Cristiano Ronaldo laid into Man Utd during part two of his interview with Piers Morgan, with the footballer taking aim at manager Erik Ten Hag’s “excuses”
On what drives him – competition or money
“Exactly, the record, the adrenaline. But Piers, let’s be honest, the last year’s football changed. I see football now as a business to be honest. Sometimes Georgina’s expression, that ‘I don’t understand that they treat you players like a piece of meat.’ I say, ‘Yes, you say everything is true’… I see football, Piers, the last years, as a business. I saw many, many things that I’m disappointing.
“The passion for the game is still intact. But in the same way, I saw other things as well. Which surprised me but in the same way. It’s part of the business because if you see the world, how it is at the moment, it’s all business…”
On walking out of a pre-season friendly
“Me and 8 players, but they mentioned only my name…everyone do that… Last year, many players did the same. In that game eight players do the same but they only speak about the black sheep which is me, which is, I completely understand, okay, it’s done, I apologise to the coach and for me, the chapter was closed.”
On refusing to come on as a substitute against Tottenham
“Piers I will be honest with you, it’s something that I regret to left from the stadium. Probably, or maybe no, I don’t know. It’s difficult to tell you 100% but let’s say I regret, but in the same way I felt provoked by the coach. Not allowed for me, a coach to put me in three minutes in a game. Sorry, I’m not that kind of player. I know what I can give to the teams.”
On being forced out of United and his relationship with Ten Hag
“The feeling he always mentioned to me, that I didn’t need the pre-season so I should wait for my opportunity. I really understand that should, well, okay, I understand. But I’m not going to give you points, but you don’t do it the same procedure to every players. I’m not gonna mention players but they don’t do it the same way.
“Second, I understand that becoming a new job, Manchester was so bad the last five years that it should make they should clean the house, let’s say in that way. But the way they approach, the way the press make this so big, it’s because… probably the communication wasn’t the best. But I really understand in the beginning because I didn’t do the pre-season, I don’t start to play, but going more further than that, further than that. Other things happen that people they don’t know. And I’m not hiding that the empathy with the coach is not good. I’m honest.”
“He don’t respect the way I should deserve. But it is what it is. This is why probably, the game against Tottenham, I left.
On the manager not bringing him against Man City
“Excuses, I see as excuses. I saw many things that, I don’t want to criticise him. He can have different opinion than me. They choose the players that they think is better for the team. I respect that but excuses all the time you know; the excuses have short legs, cannot excuse all the time, which is things that don’t make sense. Okay, you don’t put me against Manchester City because of respect of your career and you want to put me three minutes against Tottenham. It doesn’t make sense…
“I think he did it on purpose because, for example, in a national team the other clubs, if the coach wants to put me five minutes, if someone injured or if they really need me, I will help. But in that way I felt provoked not only because of that game, but before.”
On being suspended for the first time in his career
“I think it was a strategy from the club for me to react that way.” He explained:
“I was very, very, very, very disappointing for the communication of Manchester United. To be honest, I never had a problem with any club, with any coach. And they suspend me three days, which I felt it was a lot – and the level of sport, clubs, I felt a lot. It was a shame, that…”
“I remember arriving home and Cristiano see me and say ‘Daddy do not go to the game?’ I say ‘No, because the club punish me with three days’. And he did like *laughs* ‘How they’re going to punish you if you are the best player in the world and you’re not gonna play?’ I said ‘No I’m not gonna play because I have not been behave’. And he look at me like, ‘My Daddy not be behave, what?’
“In one way, I was good because I was like, more relaxed, but in the same way, I feel very disappointed because, okay, I regret, I apologise, I’m not perfect, I made a mistake. But suspend me three games, for that, I think it’s too much. And then they make fire for the press, which is really disappoint me.”
On a lack of respect from United and Ten Hag
“Don’t tell me that the top players, the guys who want everything, the key players will play three minutes. Come on, this is unacceptable after what they keep saying before, that they respect me, that they do this, they do that. For me it was not respect, this is why I take this decision I regret. I apologised to my teammates for the situation, I did a post, an Instagram, I regret to left from the stadium. I regret my teammates know what I felt, and I said to them apologised, but in the same way, I’m not regret to take the decisions to not come on… The coach didn’t have respect for me. So this is why the relationship, it’s in that way. He keep saying in the press that he come to me, he like me blah, blah, blah but that it’s only for the press. 100%.”
“If you don’t have respect for me, I’m never going to have respect for you.”
On his Man Utd future post-World Cup
“It’s difficult to tell right now, it’s because, we, my mood is right now to The World Cup. It’s probably my last World Cup, of course, my fifth World Cup. I don’t know what’s gonna happen after the World Cup, but as I told you before, and I will say again, the fans will be always in my heart. And I hope they been in my side, even if I back, or if I’m not back, or if I stay or whatever. Nobody’s perfect. Episodes in the life we all have is part of the human beings, is part of me to be a human being and father as well. I always will commit mistakes.
“But I don’t know, it’s hard to tell right now what’s going to happen to World Cup because my focus is for the World Cup, for the Portugal national team.
“When I arrived at Manchester United, I always be available to help the team to do the good things, to put in the right spots, to compete with the best teams. But it’s hard when they cut your legs and they don’t like you to shine and they don’t listen to your advice. I think I have words to advise to the club because the trophies are one individual and collective. I think I can help a lot, but when the infrastructure is not good…”
On a mega-money offer to play in Saudi Arabia
Ronaldo admitted rumours of €350million for two seasons were true. He added: “It’s true, yes it’s true…but what the press keeping say, the garbage, is that nobody wants me, which is completely wrong. And I was happy here to be honest, I was motivated to do a great season here. But they continue to repeat that nobody wants Cristiano. How they don’t want a player who scored 32 goals last year, with national team?”
On the longevity of his career
“For me it’s a stupid question. What do people say? They are not the same. Nobody is the same. Day by day we’re getting old. Every one of us, you understand, it is normal. You have to adapt. And I think nobody in this game have this brain that adapts with his age. I’m not, I’m not want to be cocky to say that I’m the same as when I was 20. Of course, no.
“But I adapt and be smart to know my strength, what I’m good to do. And I’m still playing the high level and I score goals, and I will continue to score goals. If my mind is clear and happy. And if the people surround me, they’re helping me to be successful player,, especially the coach, the president, the directors… But when you feel that the energy don’t go surround you it’s difficult for you to be yourself, which is what’s happened with me. But what they say the last three months is completely garbage and wrong. They say that they offer me this and that, and many presidents and directors speak about, they reject me. It’s a complete lie, they lie. Because this is not what’s happened. I have many clubs, not many, a few clubs that they want me to sign and I didn’t go because I feel comfortable here. This is the truth.”
On turning down a potential €350 million payday
“It’s hard, it’s hard. But in the same way, I thought that I was very happy here; that I still capable to score goals… I still believe that I can score many, many goals and help the team because I still believe that I’m still good and capable to help national team – even Manchester United. But if you don’t feel around you that the energy’s on your side, it’s difficult.
“Of course, the criticism is gonna exists all the time. ‘Ah he’s 37, he’s not the same’. But I want to see if some guy of my age can maintain the level that I show… Yes, in this moment, I feel very, very good…. I believe that I’m going to do an amazing World Cup and I’m prepared, physically and mentally… But Piers, it is what it is. Life’s good, I’m good, my mental [outlook] is good. I’m happy to do this interview with you. I know we’re gonna generate many polemic.”
On criticism for speaking out in an exclusive interview
“They criticise me when I don’t speak, of course, they’re gonna criticise me when I do speak – even more. But it’s something that I can deal with that. I know I’m going to be disappointing a few people. Maybe I’m going to make up a few people. But it is what it is. The life is completely difficult, we have obstacles in our lives. And I will keep running to fight against the people who don’t believe me, and the life is a challenge, and I want people to know they’re wrong…
“It’s hard, it’s hard for me to say that I will not be back to Manchester United. But regardless, as you say, it’s… let’s see what’s going to happen.
“But as I told you before, the fans for me always will be in my side, will be always in my heart. I see during the days when I go to the streets, the love, the passion, that people have for me, the respect. I hope that they never forget the things that I will continue to do it. Not only in the past, but in the present too. Manchester will be always in my side, the fans will be always in my side; doesn’t matter what’s going to happen. And I appreciate the love that they send for me all the time. Even when I’m done play. We even, when they, when they criticise me, they always will be in my heart. So thank you to all the support. I hope to see you soon. And they always will be in my heart.”
On what Sir Alex Ferguson would make of recent events
“I don’t speak with him like one month ago, but he’s always on my side. He always understand me. He knows that, he knows better than nobody that the club is not on the path they deserve to be. He knows. Everyone knows. The people who don’t see that is because they don’t want to see; they are blamed. The fans, they are always the answer, and the passion for the game. Manchester belongs to the fans, but they should know the truth. The infrastructure, they are not good. They should change.”
On the World Cup
“I am very optimistic. We have a fantastic coach, we have a good generation of football players. I’m looking forward that we’re going to it an amazing World Cup… [It’s] gonna be tough. Extremely difficult. But everything is possible. But of course we’re gonna compete.”
He confessed France, Spain, Argentina, Germany and Brazil would be the big teams to beat and admitted if he helped his team to win the tournament he would retire on the spot. (“Yeah. Retired. 100 per cent.”) He added he thought England “have a chance” like Portugal.
On the controversy surrounding the tournament being played in Qatar
“Exactly they should concentrate it in, in all competitions. All the national teams, the people to be welcome in Qatar, and I see, I see a good tournament to be honest. I think Qatar; they are prepared. They are prepared for that, and will be weird to play in the beginning of the season. Yes. But in the same way, a challenge. I think it’s to be honest, it’s good. I feel good. I feel with good energy.”
On his relationship with Lionel Messi
“Amazing player is magic, top… As a person, we share the stage 16 years, imagine, 16 years. we share. So, I have great relationship with him. I’m not friend of him in terms of, what I mean friend is the guy who was with you in your house, speaking on the phone, no, but it’s like a teammate. He’s a guy that I really respect the way he always speak about me. Even his wife or my wife, my girlfriend, they always respect and they’re from Argentina. My girlfriend is from Argentina. So good. What I am going to say about Messi? A great guy who does great things for football.”
On the chance of them playing together on the same team
Asked if he would like to see Arsenal win the Premier League he confessed: “I hope so” before, before quickly adding: “Manchester first, and if not, Arsenal is some team that I like to see play.
“I like the team. I like the coach. I think they have a good team. And if Manchester United don’t win the Premier League, I will be happy if Arsenal do.”
On his retirement plans
“I want to play two years more, three years more. So two or three years maximum. I want to finish with 40. I think 40, will be a good age… But I don’t know, I don’t know the future. Sometimes you plan one thing for your life and as I told many times, the life is dynamic. And you never know what’s going to happen.”
Twitter users reacted as Man Utd release a statement about Cristiano Ronaldo following part two of his interview…
@domnozahic: Just sack him x
@MatthewMUFC_: Yet another club statement, kind of an indicator of how bad the club is run. No one else has to keep making all these club statements
@TotallyMUFC: Glazers scrambling. They can sack Ronaldo but they can’t change the fact he’s exposed them.
@DavidDeGoal: Gone then surely?
@SibsMUFC: In other words a team of lawyers are going over every bullet point of his contract to make sure they can terminate it.
@krishg1990: Reading between lines I think they are going for termination of contract and it is not mutual. And as I said that day itself don’t expect club to go gung ho as it is a legal matter now. #MUFC
@pau1luvsutd: What about the Glazers trashing Manchester United since 2005, surely that is more damning than any interview? Joel Glazer has disrespected evey sinle supporter for 17 years, Ronaldo was right the Glazers dont care #GlazersOut
@carlanthonyza: It would be appropriate to fix the stadium and training facilities. Ronaldo is not the first to say this. Probably won’t be the last once this is all swept under the carpet I guess.
@stiggyt19: “sacked in the morning, you’re getting sacked in the mooooorning”
@mattlyons1993: Which basically means, they have got the lawyers in
@lukechesh8: He’s gone then ent he
@yergen13: In that interview, he criticizes just abt everything with the club, owners, manager, current players, former players. Only things well spoken of are OGS (sacked), Sir Alex (untouchable) and fans (untouchable). It’s well planned to make sure there’s only one option left.
@AlecSharp81: I genuinely hope that this ends in a mutual termination at least of his contract.
@555Debsie: Wouldn’t it be great if they said we acknowledge the valid points made about lack of progress and decline in the facilities and will look to improve. But Cristano has unfortunately made his position here untenable with criticism of his Line Manager, we wish him well in Qatar